DHAKA, Bangladesh – Beyond a reasonable distance, the ball has vanished. At Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, some 31,000 spectators are in tears. But one dude stands out as being especially cool.
With the hero already knowing that everything was going to be okay, it has the feel of the conclusion of a big-budget motion picture. From the non-end strikers of the field, Shubman Gill moves down it. Slowly. Confidently. Nonchalantly. When they are 194 not out in an ODI, 23-year-olds are not allowed to act in this manner. Against one of the world’s quickest bowlers, they shouldn’t be doing this. Yet here he is. India’s batting lineup’s potential.
The next Virat Kohli was already being predicted for Gill. However, his position in the ODI team was in doubt since Ishan Kishan, who had crushed a double century of his own against Bangladesh in Chattogram, had to give way for Gill.
India’s batting is now in this condition. One of India’s best openers in ODIs, Shikhar Dhawan, can’t even make the team. Numerous people are waiting in line to go on strike. So even though you might be a generational talent, it starts to bother you when you hear criticism of your strike rate, particularly in T20 cricket, and how it isn’t good enough. Ideally, it should, though.
The youngest double centurion in ODI cricket, Gill, though, appeared to openly chuckle at all of this when he scored 6, 6, 6 against Lockie Ferguson. Anger was present. It offered justification. It was joyful. Everyone present was admiring a player who exuded great confidence while demonstrating his prowess. It was adored by Hyderabad as well. Gill bowed to the audience after reaching his 100th point. The crowd was the next to bow to Gill as he hit the two hundred marks.
This is the first time since Kohli that a young India batter has imposed conditions on the opposition. It was a difficult pitch in Hyderabad, as some balls held up and others skidded onto the bat. A ball by Blair Tickner that got lodged in the ground ended Rohit Sharma’s innings. Mitchell Santner’s slide and rapid turn led to Kohli’s dismissal. To provide additional coverage, Suryakumar Yadav spooned Daryl Mitchell. Gill was constantly being hit by wickets. Rohit’s 34 in India’s innings was the second-highest score. Despite twice being dropped, Gill continued to lead India’s innings with his aggressive endeavor in the middle and closing overs.
Gill has a unique talent for hitting balls well to the boundary. Gill took on the two men in the deep on the leg-side boundary when Santner sped one into the pitch and hit a six over deep midwicket. With his strong back-foot game, which he developed on cement wickets, and exquisite wristwork, Gill made it appear as though it was a long hop. Gill even charged at offspinner Michael Bracewell and slog-swept him over the larger boundary for six after Kohli was out and he was given a life on 45. India reached a dew-proof total of 349 for 8 thanks to Gill’s continued high-intensity batting, which also shut down New Zealand’s attack.
As a white-ball opener, Gill came of age with a no-holds-barred assault toward the conclusion of the innings that included six sixes in the span of 11 balls. Both against Sri Lanka this year and in Harare last year, he had threatened to play big, but he was unable to. But he wasn’t left out on Wednesday.
It also meant a lot to the hordes of Hyderabad supporters who came out in force despite the stadium’s isolation from the city and the traffic restrictions put in place for both the game and the funeral of the last Nizam of Hyderabad, making it even more difficult for them to get to the ground. They had saved their loudest cheers for them and had come expecting a Kohli or Suryakumar special. Once they had something that might have been better, they eventually departed.